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Thursday, January 12, 2012


Gemini Space Capsule, Air and Space Museum, The Smithsonian

Research Notes, "Ode to the Imagination," Little Office of the Immaculate Conception
I wanted to give students at University of Washington a window into my creative process along with a sampling of the poems I write. I decided to focus on poems about mysteries--both cosmic and quotidian in scope, and--24 hours before this presentation/reading-- I decided heck, why not create a Powerpoint?!

Never mind the fact I'd only put together one Powerpoint presentation in my life. Never mind that my son had the flu and most of my notebooks are in storage: no time like the present, I reasoned, to throw myself out there to the sharks.

I began by taking a bunch of snapshots of poem drafts/notes in some recent notebooks. Then I troved Google Images and my own iPhoto collection for pertinent images. And then I started in with uploading photos and text, plus creating bulleted lists.

I admit it was a very fun process (much more fun than lecturing on the comma splice or eviscerating--err, I mean explicating--someone else's poem), but one thing I forgot is that a bunch of slides does not a successful presentation make! Oops! Also, why did I think I would never lose my place, never forget which slide came next?

Dear audience, thanks for putting up with me while I surprised myself as slides I forgot were there appeared when I hit "return." I must have come off like either a 90-year old amnesiac or a 5-year old let loose with a Mac. Forgive me, please, dear students of UW!

Honestly, I did not intend to be quite so transparent with my nascent PP skills, but when else to find that out but before a crowd of 80 or 90 that I needed to practice a little more at home, perhaps rehearsing more than once with the son with the 100-degree fever before it went to 101 and morphed to a tummy ache/headache/flu!? Anyway, other than a few (I hope) minor techno glitches/surprised looks from the presenter as she tried and failed to synch what she was saying with what was on the screen, I was quite pleased with how it all went off.

Best of all, now that I've done a full-length (class hour) PP presentation, I am SOLD. It's the best way to convey information to a large group of students with varying degrees of interest or expertise on a given subject. I am already scheming with how I will continue to revise this presentation, adding music and YouTube film clips of such things as Alan Shepard hanging out in his rocket before take-off, and of course David Bowie's "Space Oddity" booming in the background, along with ELO's "Telephone Line."
Research Notes: "Ode to Imagination" 
Thanks to professor and poet Richard Kenney and the University of Washington for inviting me to share my work with one of the best audiences ever!  I promised if ever asked back to read/PP, I will wow you with my techno savvy, never once getting my slides out of order!

1 comment:

The Cat Guy said...

Wow, that sounds like it might have made for a rough day! Now that you have learned from all your mistakes, I hope they invite you back!